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HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF

Jamie Oliver, Author, David Loftus, Photographer
Jamie Oliver, Author, David Loftus, Photographer . Hyperion $34.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6852-0
Paperback - 317 pages - 978-0-14-104298-5
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Big-energy, high-profile Food Network celebrity Oliver (The Naked Chef) says this book addresses what the average person wants to cook at home; and perhaps never has a personality cookbook ranged so far across high and not-so-high cuisine. Oliver proposes the best way to eat store-bought fish sticks (broil them and serve on a white roll with ketchup) and devises easy dishes he calls Quick Fixes, such as Chicken Breast Baked in a Bag with Cannellini Beans, Leeks, Cream and Marjora. He suggests how to get kids involved (make Chocolate Cookies with Soft Chocolate Centers) and then proceeds to mouth-watering adult fare: Pot-Roasted Pork in White Wine with Garlic, Fennel and Rosemary]; Lovely Pan-Baked Plaice with Spinach, Olives and Tomatoes; and Medallions of Beef with Morels and Marsala and Crème Fraiche Sauce. Oliver's impulse to wow an audience is reflected in such recipes as Whole Roasted Salmon Wrapped in Herbs and Newspaper, to be cooked on a camp fire or over a barbecue, and Flour and Water Crust Chicken, in which a whole bird is enclosed, baked and brought to the table in a pastry covering. Chocolate and Whole Orange Pudding is actually baked with a pre-boiled orange in the center. A small quibble, but home cooks should pay attention when assembling ingredients because they are not always presented in simple lists. The 11 components in Japanese Rolled Pork with Plums, Cilantro, Soy Sauce and Spring Onions, for example, are given in only six lines. Oliver concludes with some of his favorite beverages, which include Easy Peasy Ginger Beer and the Margarita. (Oct.)

Forecast:Oliver's previous two entries from Hyperion have been very successful, and this will follow the pattern. The last week in October, he'll tour seven cities, conduct cooking shows in bookstores and throw in some drumming as well, a musical talent he practices in his spare time.

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